Many visitors to the Highlands come for the spectacular scenery, the fascinating history and its rich wildlife. But what many may not know is that the Highland capital of Inverness is also home to a wide variety of high quality eateries - serving top notch food with ingredients sourced straight out of the scrumptious Highland larder. These are just some of the great places to eat during your visit to the area.
1. Dores Inn
Located to the south of Inverness on the shores of Loch Ness, the Dores Inn is one of the area’s most popular bars and restaurants - so much so that it’s advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment. The location, which overlooks the beautiful loch and is located next to a small beach, would almost be enough on its own to explain this huge popularity - especially when the beer garden is taken into account.
But the food is also a particular high point, and one of the things which brings people back time and time again. The inn also puts on occasional one-day music festival events like OutDores, which are also very popular.
The Dores Inn
Address: Dores, Inverness, IV2 6TR
Access: Located on the shores of Loch Ness in Dores, south of Inverness on the B862. Has its own car park
Contact: +44 1463751203 or [email protected]
Website: The Dores Inn
2. The Mustard Seed
A converted former church building overlooking the River Ness in the heart of Inverness, The Mustard Seed has been wowing restaurant goers since 1995 with its mix of striking setting and fantastic food. A south-facing outdoor terrace on its upper floor also provides an opportunity to enjoy an al fresco dining experience while looking out across the beautiful river setting.
One of the city’s most popular restaurants, The Mustard Seed also tailors its menu to reflect the seasons, making the most of seasonal Highland ingredients. And, while there are many dishes you can enjoy year round, keep your eyes peeled for the selection of daily specials that are offered.
The Mustard Seed
Address: 16 Fraser Street, Inverness, IV1 1DW
Opening Hours: Every day. Lunch from 12.00pm to 3.00pm. Dinner from 5.30pm to 10.00pm. An early evening menu is available from 5.30pm to 7.00pm
Contact: +44 1463220220 or [email protected]
Website: The Mustard Seed
Another restaurant with locally-sourced Highland ingredients, the Rocpool sits next to the River Ness across from Inverness Castle. It is another exceptionally popular restaurant, luring foodies in through its mix of superb setting and delectable dishes. Its stylish interior, views across to the castle and river and much-loved menu have made the restaurant a darling among newspaper critics and good food guides, which have praised the range of locally-sourced ingredients and its cosmopolitan but unpretentious vibe.
Address: 1 Ness Walk, Inverness, IV3 5NE
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday - 12pm to 2.30pm and 5.45pm to 10pm. Closed Sundays
Contact: +44 1463717274 or [email protected]
Website: Rocpool Restaurant
4. Castle Tavern
As the name suggests, the Castle Tavern is located close to Inverness Castle and its terraced beer garden is a popular spot for people to wind down and take in the view. Its restaurant is also very popular, serving food from midday to 10pm daily and capable of catering for groups of up to 40.
The upstairs restaurant also offers views out across to the castle and beyond, and the menu brings food lovers back time and again. Fans of real ales are also well catered for, as the tavern offers a large array of guest ales - a fact which has won it entry into the Campaign for Real Ale’s (CAMRA) good pub guide.
The Castle Tavern
Address: 1 View Place, Inverness, IV2 4SA
Contact: +44 1463718178 or [email protected]
Website: The Castle Tavern
5. The Kitchen Brasserie
The Kitchen Brasserie is a sister restaurant to The Mustard Seed and sits on the opposite side of the River Ness offering great views across to Inverness Castle. The building’s striking modern design really sets it apart from other local buildings, while its heated external terrace, which is set on the uppermost of the restaurant’s three floors, offers a great place for al fresco dining.
As with its sister restaurant The Kitchen uses locally-sourced seasonal ingredients, and offers a selection of daily specials alongside the regular menu. Its modern design - the restaurant opened in 2007 - means it offers great views from most of its tables and there is even a chance to book a table near the kitchen which allows diners to watch the chefs in action as they whip up their culinary creations.
The Kitchen Brasserie
Address: The Kitchen, 15 Huntly Street, Inverness, IV3 5PR
Opening Hours: Every day. Lunch from 12pm to 3pm. Early evening menu from 5pm to 7pm. Dinner from 5pm to 10pm
Contact: +44 1463259119 or [email protected]
Website: The Kitchen Brasserie
Inverness is not only home to restaurants catering to traditional and non-traditional European and Scottish fare - it also boasts a range of other top eateries that cater to cuisines from across the world. Aspendos, located in the heart of the city centre, offers a wide range of Mediterranean and Turkish delights.
It prides itself on authentic cooking methods, and also offers a wide-ranging menu selections - including the occasional traditional Scottish option, such as succulent beef steaks - for those less adventurous members of your party. A large number of vegetarian options are also available.
Address: 26 Queensgate, Inverness, IV1 1DJ
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday: 12pm to 11pm. Sunday: 12pm to 10pm
Contact: +44 1463711950
7. The Waterside
As the name would suggest, this is another of the city’s restaurants to boast a riverside setting. The Waterside, which is also a hotel, sits a short distance south of the castle on Ness Bank and looks across the river to Eden Court - the city’s popular theatre and independent cinema. A pedestrian-only suspension bridge linking the two sides of the river sits a short distance away, meaning that diners can enjoy a slap-up meal before taking in one of the theatre’s shows.
As well as a strong reputation for the quality of its food, which includes a range of traditional Scottish produce, the restaurant also features a large outside eating area and beer garden for those looking to soak up the sun while tucking into their meal. Its location a short distance upstream from the castle also means that the setting is nice and peaceful.
The Waterside Restaurant
Address: 19 Ness Bank, Inverness, IV2 4SF
Contact: +44 1463233065
Website: The Waterside
8. Cafe 1
Locally-sourced ingredients don’t get much more local than at Cafe 1. The owners also own their own Highland croft - a traditional smallhold farm - which means that some of the ingredients have actually been grown or reared by the people cooking up the meals. They also breed their own Hebridean Sheep and Highland cows, which occasionally make it onto the menu. As well as their own ingredients the restaurant also sources from across the Highlands for its mix of traditional Scottish dishes. The restaurant is one of the city’s most popular, and its location near the castle puts it right in the heart of Inverness.
Address: 75 Castle St, Inverness, IV2 3EA
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 12pm to 2.30pm and 5pm to 9.30pm. Saturday 1pm to 3.30pm and 6pm to 9.30pm
Contact: +44 1463226200 or [email protected]
Website: Café 1
9. River House Restaurant
Although it offers other dishes, the River House Restaurant is a particular highlight for lovers of seafood. Its chef and proprietor originally hails from Cornwall in England, which is also renowned for its fish dishes, and his love of seafood has transferred seamlessly to the Highlands.
The restaurant, which is located next to the River Ness, has received tourist body VisitScotland’s Taste Our Best accreditation for the quality and quantity of its locally-sourced produce. Fishmongers from Caithness and butchers from Speyside are just some of the sources for the menu’s ingredients. Mussels, oysters and a wide range of fish - including halibut, bream, cod and trout - are all part of the mouth-watering menu.
River House Restaurant
Address: 1 Greig St, Inverness, IV3 5PT
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday from 3.00pm to 9.45pm. Closed on Sundays
Contact: +44 1463222033
Website: River House Restaurant
10. Number 27
This privately-owned bar and restaurant is a very popular venue for those looking to eat out in the city. Popular dishes include Number 27’s signature Venison Surf and Turf, pan-fried fish of the day, and a slow-cooked Scottish rump of lamb. Traditional Scottish dishes and ingredients abound on the menu - including the likes of Highland Chicken, Cullen Skink, haggis, West Coast mussels, whisky sauces, black pudding and Strathdon blue cheeses. Families will also be pleased to note the Kids Menu, for those smaller members of your party.
Address: 27 Castle Street, Inverness, IV2 3DU
Opening Hours: Food served 12pm to 2.45pm and 5pm to late Monday to Friday. 12pm to late on Saturdays and 12.30pm to late on Sundays
Contact: +44 1463241999 or [email protected]
Website: Number 27
Mouthwatering dishes to suit every diet and budget
Delectable Highland ingredients rub shoulder to shoulder with all manner of global fare in Inverness’s bustling food scene. The city is truly spoiled for excellent places to eat, ensuring that you’ll have plenty of choice when looking for somewhere to indulge your food passions.
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